Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Monday, August 26, 2013

Looking forward / looking back

We have spent much of the last few weeks getting to know our newest Grandchild-Nico.  He has proven to be a very contented child so far.  We are going to enjoy watching him explore his world.

At the same time, we are looking forward to getting the motorhome on the road.  It has been sitting in a waiting mode for too long.  Over the next few weeks we will be putting a fair amount of miles on it while revisiting some well known territory-visiting with friends and family.

At the same time, while sitting around, I have been looking back at what we have enjoyed in our leisure time in the past.  As a follow on to my aviation obsession, we began to transition to a new leisure activity of boating.  By the mid 1980's we were starting on the sailboat period.  With a succession of ever larger sailboats, we were spending lots of time on the water in Lake Erie, and  the Chesapeake Bay.   Also during this period, we would be making trips back to Anneke's home land, which included numerous trips on the Dutch waterways. Interestingly enough, during this period we also owned two class C motorhomes for trips around the country and this was to be a precursor to our  RVing full timing adventure.

In 1995, we left the Chesapeake area and returned to the Netherlands for my final tour in the Coast Guard. Before we left we took my mother on one last trip around Chesapeake Bay on a trawler. In the Netherlands, we did a lot of power boating, including chartering two large powerboats to explore the tremendous waterways there.  The lure of the sailboat did not fade while there and we did three summer sail cruises among the Greek Islands.  This was some of the most enjoyable time on the water we have had. 

After retiring and returning to the states, the first thing we did was start a search for a sailboat.  We could not find one fast enough so, we chartered one on the Chesapeake to keep the edge off.  Finally, we found our last sailboat, a 38 foot Hunter, which we enjoyed sailing on until we decided it was time to leave the working world in 2006 and go full timing.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The waiting is over

I am pleased to announce that our newest grandson "Nico" has arrived. He arrived healthy and without any complications. We are all getting to know the newest member of the clan.

Of course, Victoria is also very interested in the new arrival and getting acquainted with her brother.  We have already seen some indications of sibling rivalry and just perhaps a touch of jealousy on her part.  I am sure that she is really not trying to put Nico in a headlock here.

For at least the next several weeks a lot of our time will be spent in grand parenting activities.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Semper Paratus (Always Ready)

Since Judy asked, here is the Anthem of the Coast Guard.. The site provides the words and some song history.

Click on the current song audio file to hear the music.

Happy Birthday-US Coast Guard

Today we celebrate  223 years of  United States Coast Guard service. This military service continues to provide an important and valuable service to our country. I remain proud that I was a part of its history for 30 years.

Like me, many of the ships in today’s pictures are retired, but the Coast Guard remains strong and continues to labor for the good of the country.

The Owasco (header photo) was my home for 14 months on North Atlantic patrols including winter North Atlantic Ice patrols, long since replaced by technology.

Happy Birthday-Coast Guard! 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Obsession revisited

A few weeks ago, we went to the Pensacola air show held on Pensacola Beach.  This was going to be the first air show without the Navy Blue Angels in many years.  It was also my first air show in quite some time.  It got me thinking about the many years when aviation and air shows were a big part of my life.  I had dreamed of flying from an early age and planned on going to the Air Force Academy, if at all possible.  Long story short, it very nearly worked out but for a lost election. 

I ended up in the Coast Guard with a first duty station in Houston.  After finding out where the office was and locating a place to live, I started taking flying lessons.  An obsession was born!  For a very long time I lived and breathed flying in my spare time.  I obtained private, commercial, instrument, multi-engine and instructor ratings.  It seemed that if I was not working or sleeping, I was flying, hanging around airports and going to air shows.  No distance was too far.

During four years in Oklahoma, I was running a small aircraft leasing company in my spare time.  We owned and operated four aircraft.  I was giving flight lessons, doing air charters, plane repossessions, air freight  and anything else that would keep me in the air.  That was when the obsession peaked.  When the time came to transfer to a new duty station, I had to decide to move on or leave the Coast Guard and give in to the obsession.  Luckily, I stuck with the Coast Guard.

It did not end my flying but the obsession was waning.  My last steady flying was in the early eighties, when I actually did some flying for the Coast Guard in Cleveland, both in USCG equipment and charter planes.  The greatest pleasure I had from that was annoying the Coast Guard aviators that I ran over to get the job. 

So back to the air show in Pensacola.  It was not the usual setting on an airport, but the planes would be flying just off the beach.  This time due to budget cuts there would be no heavy military aircraft.  We found front row seats in a beach bar with some shade. The first problem was when our ice cold beers arrived , they were warm.  Upon complaining, we were told that they would be glad to get us different ones, but they would likely not be any colder.  So that is one big difference with beach air shows already.  There were a limited number of performers and the first few were at best boring.  One small jet actually did five flybys straight and level each time.  A couple of others were pretty good, but there was just no spirit in the efforts.  It seemed as if many of the folks there were just wanting to be on the beach.  Some hardly even looked up.  Compared to the many shows of the three decades I went regularly, this was a big bust.  If the Navy Blue Angels cannot return next year, it is going to be very sad.

As we await the birth of our grandson, there might be time to review my next intense hobby, but certainly not an obsession-sailboats!